Fingernails, Cut or File

johnnysmash

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I trim my nails regularly and most of the time my fingers hurt for four or five days afterwards when I play. I use flesh and fingernails only when playing. No pick of any kind. I tried cutting less of the fingernail but this is hard to control and I still get problems. Does anyone or anyone ever just filed down their nails to keep them short enough to strum and pick a string instrument? If so please explain the way you do it?
 

UkingViking

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I use the scissor style nail cutter, and never had any problems. I have to cut them every week to keep them at a proper length, I am glad I dont get 4 days of problems!
 

Steedy

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I clip the nails on my fretting hand, but not close enough to hurt!

I file the nails on my picking/strumming hand, and I file them almost every day, not only to keep them fairly short (just past the end of my fingertips), but also to keep them nicely shaped with a smooth edge for the best tone.

I use glass files and nail shapers that I order from here: Strings by Mail.

The GF-5 glass files and OH-19 nail shapers are the ones I like.

The 4-way nail buffers that I get at the supermarket are good for putting on the finishing touches, as well.
 

kohanmike

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I cut my nails with a small nail clipper that I replace when it stops being sharp enough. I cut fairly close, but not where it causes any pain. I then file my nails with either the built in file, or the one on my mini Swiss Army knife.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)

Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
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Croaky Keith

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Cut with small scissors, then file off any rough or sharp bits; leave about 1/16th inch.
 

Barrytone

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If you are fretting with the ball of your fingertip. Have good posture and hand position nails of normal length, behind the fingertip should be fine. No need to trim back to cause pain. That is totally unnecessary. Strumming and finger-picking fingers need only slight nail overlap. It is the angle of attack that gives good tone. I file every couple of days.
 

Kenn2018

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Right Hand: I cut the nails with clippers. Shape with a file. Smooth with a glass file.
Left Hand: I cut the nails with clippers. Far enough back that I have a clean fingertip to fret the notes or chord. Sometime I will smooth the nail edge with a file.

When I first cut the nails back on my left hand, I would have a couple of fingers that were tender because I was catching the tender "quick" holding the nail on. Back after I did a few times, it moved back away from the tip and I don't catch it anymore.
 

Snargle

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I regularly file (usually every couple of days) my right-hand nails (picking hand) with a glass file and smooth the edges with a nail buffer. My fretting hand nails get trimmed with a high-quality, stainless steel clipper that is much sharper and cleaner-cutting than the El-Cheapo throw-away clippers. I've been using a Japanese-made Seki clipper for several years with great results. Again, the nails get smoothed with a buffer to eliminate any rough edges that might get caught and torn.
 

cyber3d

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Post a closeup pic of your finger tips and nails. That would help.
 

Nickie

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I clip then file, then use a smoothing emory board. No pic of my fingers, but here's my toes.
pedicure.jpg
 

johnnysmash

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Thank you, I appreciate the help. I think I will go with filing the nail down probably with a glass file and then buffing for smooth edge. The quick on my fingers loves to grown out near the tips making cutting a problem. On my index finger, left hand, when I was a 7 year old carpenter I sawed off part of my finger. The doctor just stuck it back on and stiched it. So on the opposite side of this finger I have a mushroom that flattens out when I use it to fret. The quick is impossible and grows out as long as the nail. I practice not using it as much as possible and get fair results. Maybe using the file instead of cutting will help. I feel sure that filing will help me more than cutting on the other fingers. Thanks again for your help.
 

Jerryc41

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I have to remember to file the nails on my left hand. I hate playing and seeing that my fretting fingernails are too long. I let the nail on my right index finger grow because that's how I strum. It's easy to spot players of stringed instruments - short nails on one hand and long on the other.
 

Mivo

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I always use a file (currently a sapphire one, which seems to last well). It gives me the fine-control I want, doesn't cause fractures in the nail, and with the fine grained side allows me to file a little under the nail for a smoother edge. I "do my nails" about once a week, but I have relatively fast growing nails (probably in part because of the biotin I take and the gelantine capsules that a supplement comes in). I don't use scissors or a clipper.
 

Wiggy

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On my fretting hand, I make sure to round off where the nail blends into the sides. This allows placing my fingertip where I want it between the frets and allows it to roll. If the corners, where the round part of the nail meets the straight, start to stick out (the way they naturally grow) it blocks placing my finger where I want it. When that happens, it's time to round them off with clippers or a file.

Here's the TMI part:

I keep nails on both hands short, leaving a small amount of white nail extending. I do it the old-fashioned way by peeling each nail with the thumbnail of the opposite hand. Experience (and hard thumbnails) taught me how. There is the danger of tearing it too short, damaging the quick and causing pain and possibly bleeding until it grows back. It usually takes a day or two. If you do cause the quick to show or bleed, drink more milk.

I then finish the trim with a clipper.

Of course, all this could be avoided by just doing the whole thing with a clipper and files.

Ancient Old Hand 2.jpg

-Wiggy
 
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